Adam Day is regarded as one of Manchester's most influential and highly respected bartenders and was therefore the natural choice to open up one of the most interesting new concepts in Manchester: Wilderness Bar + Kitchen.
The drinks menu is entitled Aperture, and as you might expect comes with a selection of fine photography in collaboration with the artist Michael J Thomason that explores what Wilderness means to them and challenges the conventional wisdom of Wilderness being a paradise.
The menu itself has been constructed to offers guests a selection of drinks that will remain true to a style but allows flexibility within the recipe to accommodate for the changing flavours of produce throughout the season.
Could you tell me a bit more about the menu?
When we started the project the message we wanted to convey was using quality produce and for us this means using ingredients in season, therefore we couldn’t have a static menu and the ingredients would need to change.
Within the menu the main flavours are highlighted and the supporting flavours change. We review our drinks week on week to see how they change, and so we adjust and adapt accordingly. The menu reflects how ingredients are changing, raspberries at the start of the season taste very different at the end for example. For this reason we describe the menu as a living breathing menu and we want to preserve the flavours that nature gives us.
How did you get into bar tending?
I started bar tending in Cardiff before attending the European Bartender School in Amsterdam which was a great place to develop technique, knowledge and also meet a lot of great people, many of which I'm still in touch with around the world today.
Coming from Amsterdam to Manchester I worked in a few venues before opening Peggy's bar in 2017. This was both the best and worst experience for me, I had a life goal to open my own bar by 30 years old and whilst it took a lot out of me the learning was invaluable.
Do you have a particular ethos or style of bar tending?
Having worked with a number of chefs and kitchens I have become very interested in ingredients and using fresh seasonal local produce. I don't like waste and at Wilderness we work very hard to use every part of the products we order and consider how those elements can then be reused or recycled. Every guest who joins us upstairs at the bar receives a welcome drink on arrival and these are made using ingredients that would otherwise be discarded.
I also believe you can make great drinks that appeal without over elaborate garnishes, nice glassware, good ice and beautiful liquid can achieve the effects you are looking for.
If guests come to visit you at Wilderness Bar + Kitchen which drink would you first recommend?
I would recommend low ABV Kir serve entitled TERRITORY. We only stock natural wines and this drink uses that as the base ingredient with a homemade blackcurrant liqueur and is fresh, delicate and delicious.
And when your not at work is there somewhere you enjoy drinking in Manchester?
I like the The Gas Lamp on Bridge Street, it’s a really old building with lots of history and stories, incredible whisky and beer selection – perfect for bartenders after work and cosy and intimate.
And any recommendations for the amateur mixologist at home?
Be confident in what you are doing, don't worry about other people as long as it taste's good for you. For me personally ice is a really important element of the drink, try to use larger chunks, bags of party ice don't really work.